Daily Newsletter

29 November 2023

Daily Newsletter

29 November 2023

CottonConnect expands traceability platform to brands, retailers

Sustainable cotton consultancy, CottonConnect has announced the broader availability of its traceability platform, TraceBale, as an essential tool for brands across the apparel industry.

Isatou Ndure November 29 2023

CottonConnect’s digital platform, TraceBale, offers end-to-end traceability from farm-group to garment manufacturing.

One distinctive aspect of TraceBale is its collaboration with retailers and suppliers, including DNA marker provider Haelixa, enabling the integration of digital traceability with physical traceability.

The platform employs DNA marking technology to capture pertinent data and verify the presence of marked material throughout the supply chain, from farms to gins to spinners. This feature allows brands to trace raw materials back to their source, offering visibility.

Currently adopted by 18 retailers, including The White Company, Mark's, and C&A, the wider accessibility of TraceBale aims to empower more businesses in substantiating sustainability and marketing claims, thereby enhancing customer trust.

Iain Summers, VP of purchasing, innovation & product development at Mark’s, commended TraceBale for delivering end-to-end product traceability, offering complete visibility from fibre to the finished product.

Cat Lee, head of ethics and sustainability at The White Company commented on the retailers’ use of the platform: “With our ongoing REEL Sustainable Cotton Programme with CottonConnect in Egypt, TraceBale is mapping the journey of our raw material from farms to fabric through various stakeholders, making it completely transparent. We are able to have a clear picture of linkages at each stage along with their challenges, which are easier to predict now.”

CottonConnect stated that the significance of traceability is underscored by impending regulations, such as the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) in the EU, which will impose more stringent laws on sustainability claims.

The sustainable cotton consultancy believes brands are increasingly recognising the need to take responsibility for the entire value chain and are aspiring to achieve 100% traceability in their cotton supply chains by 2030. However, the lack of visibility poses a considerable challenge to realising this ambition.

Alison Ward, CEO of CottonConnect, emphasised the complexity of the cotton supply chain, noting that the journey of cotton involves multiple stages and cross-border transactions before the finished product reaches stores.

Ward added: “Our expertise in the sustainable cotton sector and close relationships with cotton farmers and brands have enabled us to produce a traceability solution that is customisable to retailers’ needs, helping them reflect the story of a product with clarity and confidence.”

In July, CottonConnect shared hope that its first Responsible Business for Gins Code of Conduct would align cotton supply chain standards with best practices for the sector.

Personalization has grown alongside online retail

Personalization has increased as technologies have advanced, with a retailer’s ability to collect, analyze, and utilize consumer data being aided by the effective use of analytics tools. Consumers are also increasingly individualistic, especially Gen Z, and want products that are specifically targeted to their needs and goals. These consumers are often willing to pay a premium for such items. Although the opportunities for product personalization in apparel are rife, personalized products are generally not offered by mainstream retailers due to the higher costs involved.

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